Two steps at a time
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It was in January 2011, when the city was celebrating Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), that the idea of fusing lavani and mujra struck Pune-based choreographer Nikita Moghe. PIFF marked 50 years of Maharashtra as a state and also 50 years of 'Mughal-E-Azam', the biggest blockbuster of Indian cinema. The organisers had come up with a logo that portrayed Madhubala wearing a nath, the traditional Maharashtrian nose ornament . "They had fused the icons that represent the film and the state in the logo very beautifully. For me, the nath represented lavani and Madhubala represented the mujra dance form. Both these beautiful ideas mixed in my imagination and I started working on finding a way to combine the two genres of dance," remembers Moghe, who conceptualised a performance that was an amalgamation of these two dance forms. It was presented by leading ladies of the Marathi film and television industry, Varsha Usgaonkar, Urmila Kanetkar, Tejaswini Lonari and Bhargavi Chirmule at the inaugural ceremony of the ongoing Pune Festival on Friday. They were accompanied by a group of dancers from Payalvrinda Cultural Academy, run by Moghe.
Brought to the stage for the first time, Moghe says that it took the team only 15 days to put the act together. "Both the genres I have fused for this piece are based on Indian classical dance. There is a certain entertainment factor involved. The trick was to get on to the right tracks to set the flow for the jugalbandi," says Moghe, who showcased a performance on similar lines last year too, a fusion of classical dance and lavani.
The show started with the Urmila Kanetkar fluttering about the stage like a delicate damsel with a flaring anarkali kameez and churidar and dupatta pinned over her head as she performed on evergreen tracks like 'Dil Cheez Kya Hai' and 'Inhi Logo Ne'. Lonari clad in the traditional navvari brought the pulsating beats of lavani onto the stage with 'Latpat Latpat', which was followed by Chirmule dressed in mujra costume, a feather topi holding her duppata in place over her head, performing on 'Tu Manat Tu Spandanath Tu'. The all-time-favourite lavani song, 'Main Kolhapur se Ayi Hoon' was performed by Usgaokar after which all the four actors enamoured the audience with a grand finale to the show on 'Kajrare Kajrare'.